The Rules of Poker may be the Super System’s Anti-Christ as the back cover announces “here is the poker bible that will let you concentrate on what’s really important – winning.” The book covers a lot of the nuances of poker, the rules, which chips to use, when you can and can not play ‘overs.’ I get the feeling this book wants to be Hoyle’s List of Winning Hands (you know, that little card that lists what hand beats what) – sitting within reach of every poker game to settle an argument of procedure or ethic.

Book Structure
Even though it’s 276 pages, it’s very compact and looks like a yellow version of the bartenders guide to drinks. The book is broken down into five parts, each with chapters, and those chapters are broken down into sections. For example, Part Two: Structures of Play, Chapter 4 The Deck and Cards, 4.2 Hands Begin with Shuffle, p 96. Not completely intuitive but very easy to navigate once you’ve flipped through it a few times. It also reminds me of the AP Style Book for journalists.

Unique Advantages
A completely different book for poker players of all skill levels. This book says it aims to let you concentrate on what important – winning, but what it really accomplishes is an end-all to an argument. It won’t teach you how to win but how to play right, according to the standards. Whether you win or lose is up to your skill level ; ) I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been in a casino heard one ruling then walked across the street (literally, Bellagio to Caesars) and heard something completely different. This book would have been handy then IF the floor would agree to accept its credibility.

A rule book is great if people agree to abide by it. I can’t imagine a dealer calling the floor in the middle of a dispute and the floor saying ‘hold on, let me get the rule book.’ It’d be nice, but there’s a joke that goes ‘know the difference between God and the Floor? God doesn’t think he’s the Floor.’

A great reference for your house game or your backpack if you sport one on your trips to the casino. Man I wish this thing was industry standard so we could have an industry standard.

Focus: 10/10
It should say a lot that a former sports writer is comparing this to the AP Style Book.

Quality of advice: 10/10
I hope this book isn’t taken merely as advice but rather a gold standard.

Examples: 10/10
Pretty damn good. The story about ‘closest to the button’ is extremely vivid and I think I’ve seen that happen almost exactly as he describes. Well not exactly as, but you know.

Readability: 10/10
No flowers, no big words. This book is straight forward. It aims to be clearly understood and is.

Overall (not an average): 9.9/10
As a resource, amazing, and I won’t grade it on any other basis. However, what about wildcards Krieger? And low Chicago?

VERDICT: Yeah, you need it, especially if you try to play serious poker at your house game.